Binary | Monica Rico


We skip school and I drive
fast down the uneven road and take flight
hands hover the wheel
before we
slam the tires
rewind and play the same song
turn up the music.

Try, I am unable to get lost
on Saginaw side streets that lead
me to her.

My father would kill
us if he knew we jumped
all four tires
over road kill sandwiches and spit
no cheer here.

These wheels free us
from high school’s one fart joke
speeding down Mackinaw in cursive words.


I was called spic with a smile
it’s ok when one’s half Mexican
my hands are stolen
tattoos of crickets
that scare boys
blue with a change in temperature.

I cannot compete
with muscle or the sear of a kiss
one quick mistake in hesitation
like a rotten tooth

I was told I’m not a man
I scare boys
neatly like how a jaw fits in hands
it’s not ok
to remove than fix
a cracked knuckle or word
telling me I’m half of anything.

Monica Rico grew up in Saginaw, Michigan alongside General Motors and the legend of Theodore Roethke. She has a BA in Women’s Studies and Creative Writing from Western Michigan University and a MA in Creative Writing from The City College of New York. She is an avid fan of space exploration, home cooking, and beautifully tall glasses of champagne. She currently lives in Michigan and works for the Bear River Writers’ Conference.

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